With over 20 years of experience as a marriage and family therapist and over 25 years as a mom, Valerie Jencks brings an expert's perspective to conversations on relationships, women, and work/life balance. From motivational speaking and keynote delivery to event emcee and interviewer, Valerie's down-to-earth style, humor and professionalism is a hit with each audience. Her brilliant use of comedy and storytelling invites listeners to welcome challenge and adversity as gifts of growth and strength. In person, on radio or for television, Valerie brings wisdom and entertainment to every event!
Valerie is passionate about helping people see how they are held back by the expectations they have for themselves and others. Through her use of humor and engaging storytelling skills, she guides her audience to realize they have the ability to change the things that no longer serve them well. She teaches from her work as a therapist and her experiences as a midlife woman, weaving stories of real people into lessons, including some from her book, “How to Rewrite History: When Your Life Story Needs a Plot Twist” (Motivational Press, 2018.)
In 2017, Valerie co-founded "Laughing Matters in Chicago," a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting comedians impacted by addiction or mental illness by providing scholarship and performance opportunities while increasing community awareness of recovery from addiction and mental illness. Her upcoming production of "Rx: Comedy!" assembles local comedians in a well-known Chicago comedy venue to deliver recovery-influenced performances to sold out theaters. Her experience as a producer makes her more sensitive to the details that go into event planning.
Valerie is a true professional speaker. She maintains her performance skills with ongoing speaking and vocal coaching, membership in advanced Toastmasters groups, in addition to taking advantage of performance and production classes at The Second City Training Center in Chicago. She works closely with every event planner and will make sure her message fits what you need from your speaker. Both on camera and in person, Valerie will deliver a quality event that your audience will remember long after they leave your venue.
As a graduate of Northwestern University and The Family Institute of Chicago, Valerie got her public speaking start in academic training and politics, having held an adjunct faculty position at Northwestern as well as a Senate appointment to a state disciplinary board for mental health professionals. As an entrepreneur, she learned how to navigate the world of business ownership as founder and Executive Director of a multi-therapist outpatient practice, mastering real-world issues of marketing, finance, customer and employee satisfaction.
From training an executive sales team at KPMG to opening a conference of facilitators for Brene Brown’s Daring Way, Valerie has the skill and passion to deliver a message of hope and change, mixing the science of positive psychology with entertaining stories that touch the hearts of her audiences. Weeks later, your group will say “I’m still laughing, still thinking and still resonating!” and you will say "They want her back!"